Military Naturalization Statistics

U.S. service members, veterans and their families may be eligible for certain immigration benefits in recognition of their important sacrifices. Specifically, veterans and current service members may be eligible to become U.S. citizens through naturalization under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These provisions reduce or eliminate certain general requirements for naturalization, including the requirements for the applicant to have resided in and been physically present in the United States for a specific period of time before naturalizing.1

Since 2002, we have naturalized more than 139,000 members of the U.S. military, both at home and abroad. Naturalization ceremonies have taken place in more than 30 countries from Albania to the United Arab Emirates.2 In the last five years (fiscal years 2016 – 2020), we have naturalized almost 30,000 service members. In FY 2020, we naturalized more than 4,500 service members, about the same number as the previous year. Authorization for the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program (PDF) expired on Sept. 30, 2017, contributing to a decrease in military naturalizations. The MAVNI program, authorized by the Department of Defense in 2008, allowed certain individuals who were not U.S. citizens, nationals or lawful permanent residents to enlist if they had skills considered vital to the national interest.

Approvals by Fiscal Year (2016 – 2020)

Bar graph 2016 - 9300, 2017 - 7110, 2018 - 4680, 2019 - 4350 -  2020 - 4350

Countries of Birth

Service members born in the Philippines, Mexico, China, South Korea and Jamaica—the top five countries of birth among those naturalized—comprised more than 40% of the naturalizations since FY 2016. The next five countries of birth—Nigeria, Nepal, India, Ghana and Kenya—comprised an additional 20% of military naturalizations from FY 2016 to FY 2020.

Top Five Countries of Birth (FY 2016 – FY 2020)

Graphic showing percentages , Mexico -9.1, Jamaica - 6.5, China- 7.5, Philippines - 10.7, South Korea - 7.5.

Age

Half of all service members were between 22 and 30 years old when they naturalized. The median age of all service members who naturalized between FY 2016 to FY 2020 was 26 years old. More than 20% were 21 and under when they naturalized. Almost 7% were older than 41 when they naturalized.

Age at Naturalization (FY 2016 – FY 2020)

Graphic showing ages and percentages. 17and 18 - 3.7, 19 to 21 - 19.3, 22 to 25 - 24.8, 26 to 30 - 25.2, 31 to 35 - 15.8, 36 to 40 - 4.6, 41and above - 6.7 end

Gender

Men comprised 78% of all service members naturalized between FY 2016 and FY 2020. The proportion of male and female service members naturalized remained consistent across years.

Gender at Naturalization (FY 2016 – FY 2020)

Graphic showing gender by percentage, 22 for women and 78 for men thank you for listening your friend USCIS

Branch of Service

Service members from the Army (including National Guard and Reserves) comprised about two-thirds (62%) of all military naturalizations from FY 2016 to FY 2020. Service members from the Coast Guard comprised less than 1% of military naturalizations from FY 2016 to FY 2020.3

Branch of Military at Naturalization (FY 2016 – FY 2020)

Graphic showing percentages by service branch, Army - 62.2, Navy - 14.2, Marines - 8.6, Air Force - 7.8, Coast Guard - 0.4

Tables

Data Table 1: Approved Military Naturalizations by Fiscal Year (2016-2020) and Top 10 Countries

Country of Birth

FY16

FY17

FY18

FY19

FY20

Total

Philippines

1,010

880

460

410

450

3,220

Mexico

860

790

440

340

310

2,740

China

810

410

290

380

370

2,250

South Korea

830

390

250

510

280

2,240

Jamaica

490

570

320

210

380

1,960

Nigeria

350

240

220

180

340

1,320

Nepal

470

140

140

160

100

1,000

India

260

120

260

230

110

980

Ghana

260

260

150

80

230

970

Kenya

250

160

120

90

100

710

Others

3,720

3,180

2,050

1,780

1,870

12,590

Total

9,300

7,110

4,680

4,350

4,530

29,970

Source: USCIS, CLAIMS 4 and ELIS. Data as of October 2020.

Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.

Data Table 2: Approved Military Naturalizations by Fiscal Year (2016-2020) and Age at Naturalization

Age at Naturalization

FY16

FY17

FY18

FY19

FY20

Total

17 and 18 years old

490

490

110

10

0

1,100

19-21 years old

2,020

1,870

750

620

510

5,770

22-25 years old

2,580

1,710

1,030

1,050

7,430

26-30 years old

2,310

1,550

1,210

1,220

1,260

7,550

31-35 years old

1,110

930

860

740

1,100

4,730

36-40 years old

280

220

280

260

360

1,390

41+ years old

510

360

430

440

260

2,000

Total

9,300

7,110

4,680

4,350

4,530

29,970

Source: USCIS, CLAIMS 4 and ELIS. Data as of October 2020.

Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.

Data Table 3: Approved Military Naturalizations by Fiscal Year and Gender (2016-2020)

Gender

FY16

FY17

FY18

FY19

FY20

Total

Men

7,380

5,620

3,560

3,380

3,420

23,370

Women

1,920

1,490

1,120

970

1,110

6,610

Total

9,300

7,110

4,680

4,350

4,530

29,970

Source: USCIS, CLAIMS 4 and ELIS. Data as of October 2020.

Notes: Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.

Data Table 4: Approved Military Naturalizations by Fiscal Year (2016-2020) and Service Branch

Service Branch 

FY16

FY17

FY18

FY19

FY20

Total

Air Force

760

690

280

180

420

2,330

Army

5,790

4,150

2,720

3,020

2,960

18,650

Coast Guard

20

30

20

20

20

110

Marines

1,140

770

220

240

220

2,580

Navy

1,580

990

420

450

830

4,260

Unknown

10

480

1,030

440

90

2,040

Total

9,300

7,110

4,680

4,350

4,530

29,970

Source: USCIS, CLAIMS 4 and ELIS. Data as of October 2020.

Notes: Military branches include the Reserves and National Guard; for example, the Army includes both the Army Reserves and the Army National Guard. Due to rounding, the totals may not sum.


1 Read more information on the naturalization process and eligibility for service members, veterans and their families on our website.

2Executive Order 13269 (PDF), signed on July 3, 2002, designated the War on Terrorism (beginning on Sept. 11, 2001) as a period in which the armed forces of the United States were engaged in armed conflict with a hostile foreign force for the purposes of section 329 of the INA. As a result, those who served honorably in the armed forces on or after Sept. 11, 2001, may be eligible for naturalization in accordance with the statutory exceptions to the naturalization requirements provided in INA 329.

3 About 7% of naturalizations did not list a service branch in our system.

Last Reviewed/Updated: